Best Varmint Rifles for Small Game

Whether you’re one of the hunters going after varmints for protection or amusement, finding the one rifle that fits your needs can take a lot of work. You need to consider what kind of varmints you are planning to shoot since a few rats are different from prairie dogs or a porcupine. Having a weapon that offers accuracy while being safe and efficient is a must.

Rather than forcing you to research whether you want a Remington 700, an AR 15, or a Browning X Bolt, we’ve done the hard work and came up with the top six options for varmint hunting. You can read more about each rifle below and find out which matches your needs. We’ll also share additional information about what to look for when you’re choosing a rifle, so you know it’s the perfect one for your home.

Our Top Varmint Rifle Picks: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

1. Remington Model 700 Long-Range Bolt-Action Rifle

The Remington 700 features a 26-inch barrel and weighs in at under 10 pounds, ideal for anyone who is hunting a varmint. This is one of the best varmint hunting options on the market and comes in at a reasonable price for those who are on a budget. The 700 SPS can also perform well, even when you are under pressure, to ensure you get the animal you are going after.

The design of the 700 SPS means that it works well at long distance and offers a lot of reliability. It also has fewer parts than a semi-automatic device, so there is less maintenance needed to keep it in great shape. It also boasts little recoil, which is an advantage when you need to follow up a single shot with a subsequent one. The 700 SPS has an injection-molded stock that keeps the price down while remaining durable when you’re out on the hunt.

The barrel of the rifle has a heavy contour design that will handle the heat with ease. The heaviness of the barrel also helps when firing numerous shots off in a row. There is a choice of bullets for the gun so that you can choose the right option for your specific needs. It also features an X Mark Pro trigger for easy release of the trigger that will last a long time.

This is a well-built rifle that can help you take ethical shots even from a long distance. Those who are interested in going after big animals will find you can easily take down the most significant prey without breaking a sweat. Just pop in some 6.5 Creedmoor rounds and get started.


  • Offers an easy to use design for big game that is ideal for beginners
  • Can be used with inexpensive ammunition to save money in the long run
  • Simple to manage with little recoil when shooting varmints


  • Extra safety device can be frustrating for experienced rifle users

2. Ruger American Rifle Predator Bolt-Action Rifle

Another of the best options for stopping a varmint is the Ruger Predator, which offers a great deal of accuracy in a 22-inch barrel. This Ruger features a flush fit rotary magazine and a bedding block system integrated into the rifle. One of the top features of this model is that it has a built-in Marksman Adjustable trigger. This means you can adjust the pull weight from three to five pounds when shooting off a cartridge.

The Power Bedding system on this Ruger helps lock in place the rifle and the receiver. This offers a more accurate shot since all of the parts are working fluidly together as one. It also includes a heavily tapered barrel made through cold hammer forging for the best precision. This makes it durable and even easier to keep clean between uses.

This Ruger for varmints has serrations on the stock to create better ergonomics, which lets you get a good grip even when the weather isn’t cooperating. It also has swivel studs that make it straightforward to attach a sling so you can carry the rifle when you are traveling. Other features of the Ruger include an aluminum scope rail, a high visibility safety, and a flush-fitting four plus one magazine.

When it comes to varmint hunting, this rifle is sure to get the job done in record time. It’s accurate, quick, and durable, so you won’t be buying a new gun anytime shortly to handle pests at your farm or in your yard.


  • Features an ergonomic design and a hammer-forged barrel made to last
  • Includes a Marksman Adjustable trigger for the best reliability you can get
  • Comes with a Power Bedding system and a flush-fit rotary magazine


  • Some users prefer to avoid the rotary style magazine used for each cartridge

3. Savage Arms 12 FV Bolt-Action Varmint Rifle

This rifle from Savage Arms says the words “varmint rifle” right in the name, so you know it’s been designed for precisely that purpose. The rifle offers a matte black finish, comes with a black synthetic stock, and weighs just under nine pounds. The barrel has an overall length of 26 inches, which is a bit larger than most of the other options on our list.

With the adjustable AccuTrigger that comes on the gun, you can set up the pull weight before you shoot off a cartridge. Once you have it set to the right level, you can expect accuracy, unlike any other rifle you put your hands on. This is due to the button-rifled carbon steel barrel and the high muzzle velocity. It also offers a 1/8 twist rate so you can stabilize heavy cartridge in the chamber when shooting over a long distance.

The best ammo cartridge for this rifle is often considered to be 6.5 Creedmoor rounds, which are incredibly high potency ballistic rounds. This is precisely why the United States military has adopted them for use. Also, it has been tapped and drilled for mounting scopes that you like. It offers a box magazine with a four plus one capacity and has a built-in oversized bolt handle.

With added extras like swivel studs, a recoil pad, and cut checkering, this is a rifle that can take on whatever you throw at it. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s reasonably priced for protecting your property from animals that might bother your crops or livestock.


  • Created for accuracy and power while one is spending time hunting varmints
  • Features an AccuTrigger and a carbon steel barrel to ensure great shots
  • Offers an accurate rifle shot over long distances due to drilled/tapped design


  • Some users might prefer a smaller rifle for varmint hunting needs

4. Gamo 6110068754 Swarm Whisper Air Rifle

This Gamo Whisper Air Rifle is different from the other options we’ve talked about so far. This is an air rifle that takes pellets to run away a varmint or take down small animals that are being pests. It measures in at just over the 19-inch mark and is super portable at only a bit over eight pounds in weight. This is an excellent choice for a child or someone who prefers a model with less power than the above options.

With this air device, you can handle pest control and hunt through the 10X Quick-Shot technology. That means you can shoot out up to 10 pellets in a row without taking a break to reload the unit. All you have to do is break the barrel and then fire for your follow up shots. This model comes in a .177 caliber model that works well to take care of birds, mice, snakes, and rats.

This Gamo item can also be used for everyday and recreational shooting, making it a versatile choice for anyone who wants a good deal. It comes with noise suppression technology that is trusted by thousands of shooters and ensures you can reach your prey before they even know you were there. This is integrated into the barrel for your convenience when shooting.

This model has a velocity of 975 feet per second and comes with a recoil-reducing rail. It also has a high-quality synthetic stock that is filled with nylon. This ensures you get the best balance when you’re trying to take down an animal bothering livestock or a pet cat or dog.



  • Some may prefer a traditional rifle to an air rifle in certain situations

5. Raptor Whisper Air Rifle

The Gamo Raptor is one of the best varmint hunting options when you just want to get the job done. It has Whisper technology, which ensures quiet shooting so that it can be used even in areas with neighbors, provided the law doesn’t prohibit it. It offers a 19.1-inch barrel, and rather than taking a cartridge, it uses pellets to shoot varmints.

For something powered by only air, it offers a great deal of power. The pellets can go out at around 1,300 feet per second for a range of approximately 40 yards. It also comes with a simple scope that can help you home in on a target, although it may not compare to an expensive scope on a top-of-the-line riffle. It’s easily able to take down small pests that are bothering your property or livestock.

Since this is an extremely lightweight model, it works well in the hands of a beginner to shooting. It also offers a set of shock absorbers so you can avoid most of the recoil, something that is often appreciated by someone new to using a rifle. This model also has inert gas technology, which goes even further to preventing excess vibrations.

When it comes to safety, it’s clear that the manufacturer kept it in mind. There is a manual safety trigger available along with an automatic cocking safety mechanism. The gun is made out of a durable synthetic material that is designed to stand the test of time without needing extra maintenance. Once you look at the price tag, you’ll find this is a fantastic choice for varmint hunting without having to dip deep into your wallet.


  • Features a lightweight design for smooth movement when varmint hunting
  • Offers an ergonomic handle and a sturdy, solid build that is made to last
  • Includes a manual safety for security and has smooth and easy cocking


  • Some users consider the scope to be an unneeded addition with low accuracy

6. Savage Arms Mark II HMR Bolt-Action Rimfire Rifle

Our last of the best varmint rifles comes from Savage Arms in the Mark II variety. This rifle has a 21-inch barrel that is heavy blued with a satin finish, so it looks great in your hands. It also weighs in as the lightest option on our list at only 7.5 pounds, so lugging it around with you when you’re hunting around your property won’t be a struggle.

Unlike the past two rifles that we have looked at, this isn’t powered by air. It uses typical cartridges and can take down more than exceedingly small animals. Designed for handling vermin and pests, it offers a clean-breaking and easily adjustable AccuTrigger that you can adjust to meet your needs. It has a five-shot magazine that can be detached to offer up even more convenience than you might expect.

This model has been created to be exceptionally durable through the gray laminate hardwood stock. It also looks great when you’re out shooting with your buddies, and everyone will want to take a shot with it. The inclusion of a Weaver scope with a duplex reticle also improves how it performs and ensures you take down the target you are after. The best part is that the gun is relatively inexpensive, so most people won’t have an issue affording all of the power it offers you.

This Savage Arms gun has a heavy barrel and a smooth trigger once set to the poundage that you prefer. It has enough perks that an expert can use it and enjoy it, but it isn’t so complicated that a beginner will be overwhelmed with it in their hands. If you need to get rid of some woodchucks or rats, this could be the perfect choice for you.


  • Includes a bore-sighted, factory sighted 3-9×40 Bushnell scope for accuracy
  • Comes in two caliber options so you can choose the cartridge that works best
  • Offers an easy to adjust, clean-breaking AccuTrigger to ensure the best shots


  • Aftermarket parts for this one can be challenging to find on the market

What You Need to Know When Purchasing the Best Varmint Rifle

As with any major purchase, it’s essential to understand the components of a rifle for varmint before you have one shipped to your home. Depending on where you live, what types of varmints you want to get rid of, and what kind of cartridge you want to use, your best varmint rifle might be different from someone else’s. Below, we’ll be looking at the best type of rifle you can get for small game and what features you should expect it to come with.

What Varmint Rifles Are Typically Best For

The best varmint rifle is one that offers a property owner or hunter the option to continue hunting even when deer or turkey season is over. For those who live in secluded areas outside of cities and towns, one can also use this kind of rifle to keep pests away from their home. When you have a safe, efficient rifle for varmint hunting, you can enjoy extended-range vermin hunting and take out small and medium-sized game.

The Difference Between Varmints and Vermin

The words vermin and varmint have been used since the 1500s to refer to infesting insects and worms on food. While both are rooted in Latin and mean “worm,” the correct word for the infestation of these nuisance creatures is vermin. Varmint is a separate word that can define many things depending on the factors at play.

This is a culturally-defined term, and some states even have a definition of what constitutes vermin and varmints. This means that when you go from one state to another, the list of animals included can change.

When we’re talking about varmint hunting, this means pursuing small mammals without the purpose of later making them into breakfast or dinner. These animals are made up of a variety of predators and small game. Below, we’ll explain why some of these animals are hunted in most cases:


Type of Animal

Reason to Hunt the Animal

Bed Bugs
White Ants
The animals on the left are typically killed to prevent disease and injury to livestock, animals, or crops. Some of these animals may become invasive if not removed.
Cats – Prince Edwards Islands
Cockroaches – Urban Areas
Goats – Galapagos Islands
Mice – Urban Areas
Rats – Urban Area
Rabbits – Australia
These varmints are removed because the species has the potential to spread rapidly. The animals may be hunting to bring down their numbers and put them back into controllable amounts.
Barred Owls
Goshawk Foxes
Horned Owls
Screech Owls
Snapping Turtles
Snowy Owls
Sparrowhawk Weasels
These animals are often viewed as predatory and are killed to prevent them from killing livestock on farms or around homes.
These varmints have been known to cause damage to crops and pastures.

The Best Attributes of a Top Varmint Rifle

Someone who is varmint hunting, whether to control the population of pests, to protect the environment from pests, or to keep their crops and plants in good shape, sometimes is called a varminter.

Hunters also often engage in hunting varmints to protect animals and livestock on farmland. As an example, someone who is varmint hunting might want to keep their sheep away from coyotes and wolves and ensure their chickens are safe from foxes.

There are also situations where domestic pets like cats and dogs need the protection of a varmint rifle. They can be injured or catch a disease from a varmint like a raccoon, coyote, opossum, skunk, or a fox.

If you are looking for the best rifle to hunt varmint, you want to choose a model that results in effective, ethical, and efficient kills. The right rifle for your needs will depend mainly on what varmint you are planning to hunt. Keep in mind that the classification of varmint animals is regulated by laws and regionally defined.

Most varmints are challenging to get near since they run off as soon as you get close. The best varmint rifle is one that is long-range at around 200 yards or so. Several unique features make a varmint rifle capable of handling the challenge of running varmints out of your land for your protection.

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The Caliber of the Best Rifle

One of the most important things you will need to consider when choosing a rifle for varmint hunting is the caliber of the gun. In most cases, a 20-inch rifle to take out a varmint is going to have a smaller caliber than other rifles. One of the best sizes for varmint rifles is a 22 LR rimfire.

The long-range 22 rifle is often considered the best choice for varmint. However, keep in mind that the type of animal you are hunting is going to play one part in your decision. Some may find that a 22 varmint rifle doesn’t have enough power for their needs, which can result in a wounded animal. This can be a dangerous situation that you do not want to find yourself in.

Having heavy ammunition isn’t need for chasing varmint with a rifle, but you need to take a quick shot. When you have a rifle with a flat trajectory and a fast bullet, you don’t need to focus as much on distance and range like you would with a AR 15, since the main focus is taking a rifle shot that is as accurate as possible.

The best rifle for a varmint is going to have a speed of about 3,000 feet a second or more. Some can go as fast as 4,000 feet a second, which makes it even more likely your rifle will hit a varmint. Either of these options will work well for longer shots with a 20 inch or 24-inch rifle. This makes for the best varmint rifles you can find on the market.

A Quick Trajectory

If you have experience with hunting a varmint, you probably know that these animals can be extremely quick. Some of them can head underground in a second, where even the best rifle, such as a 223 Remington, a Browning X Bolt, a 17 HMR, or an AR 15, has no chance of reaching one. One of the things to look for in a varmint rifle is a flat shooting trajectory. That means the projected cartridge from the barrel is going to move in a flat direction.

The reason this is the best rifle for a varmint is that the cartridge comes out of the rifle barrel at a high velocity. This lets you catch the varmint with a cartridge before it can run off or burrow back into the ground. It gives you the best accuracy while ensuring you handle your varmint hunting.

Minimal Projectile Penetration

The best rifle for hunters going after a varmint is going to take specific kinds of bullets in the barrel. These bullets are created for flat shooting and accuracy at 200 yards or more. These are the same bullets that can be used in an AR 15 and are going to be lightweight. They are also designed so when they leave the rifle barrel, they do not penetrate deeply into the prey animal.

Acidized Qualities

Bullets that go in the rifle barrel, such as the 223 Rem and 220 Swift, are going to have that accuracy when going after a small varmint. They should be able to take down the varmint at long or close range with an equal level of effectiveness. The acidized attributes of the bullets in varmint rifles offer all of this, so shooting is a cinch.

Accessories Designed for a Rifle to Hunt a Varmint

Even when you have the best rifle to get a varmint, accessories can make them more efficient and easier to use. Some make it simpler to use the rifle overall, others can make it easier to use a rifle at certain times of day, and still others make it straightforward to use the rifle at certain locations or on specific animals. We’ll look at a couple of your rifle accessory options below.


A mount is needed if you are going to add a scope to your rifles and prefer to avoid issues with alignment between the scope and rifle. This is a highly recommended choice for rifles used on pest animals to get the accurate shot that you want. In most cases, your rifle mount should include a Picatinny rail.


When you pick the best scope for your varmint rifle, most people would recommend you choose the most substantial scope so you can more easily target your prey. Smaller rifles are going to do well with a 4 to 16 variable for the best results. On the other hand, a more massive rifle will do best with a scope that has 24, 32, or even 40 power magnification.


Remember that these animals are going to be quick to move, which means hunting can be made more efficient when your rifles have a noise dampener or a silencer. When you have an accurate shot that is also nearly silent, it’s going to be easier to take out predators and pests. When choosing a silencer, you want to be sure it won’t interfere with the speed of the shot from the rifle.

Wrapping Up

If you want something powerful, reliable, and able to handle all your varmint hunting, you need the best varmint rifle. This kind of rifle can be used to protect your crops, livestock, and even your pets that roam around outside. No matter what purpose you have for one of these rifles, having the best is the only way you can ensure you get off all your shots quickly and efficiently.

There are tons of great options out there to meet your needs once you know exactly what they are. The choices on this list are all proven to offer the protection you need while promising an accurate, flat shot. All you need to do is decide how much power you want and what your budget it before selecting the right varmint rifle for your household. Then you can order your rifle and get out there to enjoy some hunting

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